As a runner, it’s extremely important to work out the core muscles of your body that add to your overall running efficiency and form, besides making you less susceptible to injuries and cramps. Whether you’re running to train for a race or as a part of your fitness schedule, take a few days in the week off for some light workouts—it will add variety in between your runs and work at reinforcing your muscle memory and endurance.

Planks
Great for strengthening your overall core, planks also help in bettering your running stride and form. Starting from the push-up position, align your body at an angle from the floor and support your weight with your forearms and toes. Hold the position for a predetermined count, relax and repeat.

Leg Curls
This is a gym workout that requires a leg curl machine. Lying face down on the seat slip your ankles under the rollers. Make sure you’re holding onto the handle as you slowly pull the roller towards you using your hamstrings. You can keep pulling your heels as far as you can curl your legs, though they don’t have to touch your buttocks. Start with low weights at firsts and do a couple of sets before you move on to heavier weights.

Lunges
This is an effective workout for your buttock and hamstrings.  Take a good step forward with one leg and bend it so that your knee and ankle stand perpendicular to each other. Keep the back leg unbent. Return to your original position by pulling your front leg back by the heel. Repeat the same steps with alternate legs.

Lunges build flexibility
Lunges build flexibility

Bicycle crunches
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Stick your chin up and hold your shoulders back with your hands supporting your head. Now pull and push both knees back and forth alternatively, as if pedaling the air. Keep it on till you’ve counted at least 10-15 repetitions. A variation of this is also to do the twist, that is, alternately pull each knee towards your chest while simultaneously touching the alternate elbow to the knee. It’s an effective workout for your oblique muscles.

Toe and calf raises
These are excellent for strengthening the calf muscles; they also tone your shin and stimulate the muscles that have gone stiff from the running. Both require a step to stand on. For toe raises, stand on the ledge with your heels and keep your toes free. Hold on to a support and raise the toes up as far as they can go. Release and repeat about 15 times over 2 sets. Calf raises are just the reverse. Stand with your toes on a ledge and raise your heel as high as possible before releasing to original position. Ensure that your posture is straight throughout both exercises.

Main image: PopSugar Photography / Megan-Wolfe

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